| For Home Sellers

One of the most common questions I hear from sellers is, should I renovate before selling? In particular, most clients ask about the space they’ve always dreamed of redoing: their kitchens.

The impulse to renovate your kitchen before selling is a good one. First off, improving this one room can seriously increase your home’s value. It’s also an important thing to consider because kitchens can become outdated quickly (fluorescent lighting panels and linoleum flooring, I’m looking at you).

So, what kind of upgrades should you consider? Here, I’ll tell you about a few of the kitchen features that buyers love most.

 

1) Improve your layout

Some people claim that open-concept floor plans are a thing of the past. Not so. I can tell you from experience, there’s no shortage of demand for spacious, open kitchens. In fact, they’re on the wish list of most of the buyers I work with.

If you have any half walls or exposed posts in your kitchen, there’s a good chance they can be removed without compromising structural integrity. The cost will depend on the home. But to remove a non-load-bearing wall, you’re probably looking at a figure in the $2000-$3000 dollar range.

The return you’ll get on this investment is hard to estimate, so do your homework! Consider working with an appraiser—and always get the input of a good designer.

 

2) Replace or refresh your cabinets

If you have dingy or outdated cabinets, I have some bad news for you. They’re a massive turnoff for most buyers.

Replacing cabinets can be pricey. But the truth is, you probably don’t have to tear everything out and start all over again. Studies show that even a minor kitchen remodel can recoup 80% of its cost. So if you don’t have the budget for a complete overhaul, consider sanding and repainting your cabinets for an instant kitchen face-lift.

When it comes to cabinets that seriously date your kitchen, replacement may be the only solution. In some cases, you can get away with simply adding new doors. But if the structure of your cabinets is the issue, you might want to consider putting in a stock model. Ikea’s ready-to-install options provide a clean, modern look without breaking the bank.

 

3) Pick a new colour scheme

Some people love a lot of bold colours in their homes, but most won’t. Ditto colour schemes that were popular several decades ago.

Appealing to as many buyers as possible means opting for a neutral yet modern colour palette. This is especially important in the kitchen, where function should be the focus.

Focus on the backdrop of your kitchen: walls. A new paint job can add several thousand dollars to the value of your home, so choose your shade wisely. Going bold can pay off sometimes, but it can also backfire.

I’ve seen different people react to the same splashy colour with a range of emotions—from excitement to near-disgust. But I’ve never heard a buyer complain about taupe or eggshell. In other words: neutrals are your best bets.

 

4) Brighten things up

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that buyers love natural light. Unfortunately, this isn’t a feature that can be added easily. What you can do is install just the right lighting to make visitors feel at home.

Consider this: your kitchen is no longer just the room where your food is prepared. For many homeowners, it’s a gathering place. It’s a place to unwind with friends over a glass of wine, or have a heart-to-heart with a family member. Now more than ever, buyers are looking for ambiance in a kitchen. Luckily, you can create a positive mood without a lot of natural light.

First, think about usability. Where are homeowners most likely to perform cooking-related tasks? Under-cabinet lighting is useful because it illuminates countertops. When it comes to creating the right mood, think warm, bright lighting that can be dimmed in the evening.

The right designer can help you create superior function and ambiance through a combination of recess lighting (fixtures in the ceiling) and pendulum lighting (hanging fixtures).

 

5) Choose stainless steel appliances

When it comes to the appliances buyers want most, one style still reigns supreme. I’ve seen eyes light up at the sight of stainless steel refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers. The uniquely-modern elegance of this finish puts it near the top of most buyer’s kitchen wish lists.

Unfortunately, there’s a common seller myth that upgrading to stainless steel costs a fortune. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Go into a department store and compare the prices for two versions of the same fridge: one made of stainless steel, and one with a white finish. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the price difference.

Bottom line: I don’t see stainless steel appliances going away anytime soon. In most cases, they’re an investment worth making.

 

Planning to sell your home? Wondering how to increase its value? Let’s a grab a coffee and talk about it!

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